sensory processing and stuff in her mouth


Since we feed Little Miss by g-tube for medical reasons, there isn’t THAT much occasion for “stuff” to be in her mouth. There are two things that get into her mouth fairly regularly that are NOT okay with her and cause a significant reaction. This becomes an urgent situation whether we are at home or elsewhere. The reason it becomes urgent is that she has orally-focused sensory processing disorder. In other words, she cannot process the feeling of having things in her mouth and it is repulsive to her.

This morning, on the way to drop off our van for some much-needed attention from our mechanic, we stopped at a coffee shop.  As we stood near the counter getting straws, etc. she made that sound. It is a unique sound that I cannot describe but immediately puts my brain on HIGH ALERT! It means “vomit imminent, take cover!”

When Little Miss gets a hair in her mouth I immediately attempt to get it out so we can avoid the vomit experience.  I have found that if she sticks out her tongue and I swipe the palm of my hand down it, I usually grab the hair and the crisis is over.  However, if I can’t find the hair and remove it quickly vomit is unavoidable.  That was the case this morning.  Yes. Right in the coffee shop.  Fortunately we were standing at the straw counter and there is a hole in the countertop for garbage.  Yes I did… I pushed her head over the hole so we could avoid a “splash down” requiring massive clean-up.  I couldn’t wait to leave there.

Another cause of the HIGH ALERT sound is when a dry piece of skin from her lips gets in her mouth.  This is harder to deal with than the hair because there is no way I can find it.  I give her a class of ice water (she will not drink it without ice – some sensory thing) and she tries to drink enough to get the piece of skin to go down, but this does not always work, in which case we have the splash down.

I’ve become somewhat accustomed to this ordeal but it still tends to drain me.  I used to keep a change of clothes in the car for her, just for this reason.  I need to keep doing that, although I’d like to stay in denial that it would ever happen again.

So paper towels, wet wipes, some plastic bags for the clean-up remnants and a spare outfit: that’s the emergency equipment right in there with the spare tire and the jack.  Just the way it is here in special-needs-land!  Better safe than sorry!

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